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Conference Paper

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:
A. Rowe, R. Mangharam and R. Rajkumar, RT-Link: A Time-Synchronized Link Protocol for Energy Constrained Multi-hop Wireless Networks Third IEEE International Conference on Sensors, Mesh and Ad Hoc Communications and Networks (IEEE SECON), Reston, VA, September 2006.

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We propose RT-Link, a time-synchronized link protocol for real-time wireless communication in industrial control, surveillance and inventory tracking. RT-Link provides predictable lifetime for battery-operated embedded nodes, bounded end-to-end delay across multiple hops, and collision-free operation. We investigate the use of hardwarebased time-synchronization for infrastructure nodes by using an AM carrier-current radio for indoors and atomic clock receivers for outdoors. Mobile nodes are synchronized via in-band software synchronization within the same framework. We identify three key observations in the design and deployment of RT-Link: (a) Hardware-based global-time synchronization is a robust and scalable option to in-band softwarebased techniques. (b) Achieving global time-synchronization is both economical and convenient for indoor and outdoor deployments. (c) RT-Link achieves a practical lifetime of over 2 years. Through analysis and simulation, we show that RTLink outperforms energy-efficient link protocols such as BMAC in terms of node lifetime and end-to-end latency. The protocol supports flexible services such as on-demand endto- end rate control and logical topology control. We implemented RT-Link on the CMU FireFly sensor platform and have integrated it within the nano-RK real-time sensor OS. A 42-node network with sub-20us synchronization accuracy has been deployed for 3 weeks in the NIOSH Mining Research Laboratory and within two 5-story campus buildings.


Scheduling Algorithms for Embedded Wireless Networks



Date Posted: 15 September 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.